The process of buying a home is similar to being pregnant.
There I said it. I can hear those pregnant pauses now. Groans are welling up from today’s studio audience. On a gender-related note of apology, I promise to pass a large kidney stone in the future to make amends.
First, there’s the obvious. Timing is right. Stars are aligned. The seed of an idea issues forth out of a gleam in the eye. Suddenly it takes hold.
Out of the blue you are on the cusp of one of those great journeys in life. A transition both exhilarating and a little scary. Part of you tries to grasp the whole notion of what it means to leap into this particular version of the unknown. There’s an inkling that things are going to change in ways you can’t even imagine but it’s all a bit abstract.
The inception of the idea is followed by a long gestation period as that initial spark of desire grows. No one conceives of buying a house one day and simply runs out to make it happen the next. Real estate isn’t designed to work that way. Most people need time to adjust to the idea of buying a house. What will it look like? Will it be a boy? Girl? Ranch style? Victorian? Buyers, just like future parents, imagine a million scenarios in their heads before what actually comes to pass, comes to pass. There are stages of development along the way everyone has to go through.
The obvious aside, here’s the way that buying a house is most like being pregnant… Expectant mothers and expectant buyers will all recognize the phenomenon. Moms, remember how, when you were quite pregnant, total strangers seemed to think nothing about coming up to you in the middle of a public place, completely ignoring whatever sense of boundaries or personal space you might have, in order to reach out and feel your belly?
In addition to the physical intrusion, most of these same people were incredibly eager to launch into their own detailed accounts about the good, the bad and the more than you ever really wanted to know, of their birth experiences.
It happens all the time. Well-meaning people just can’t help it. There’s some deep archetypal connection they feel that makes them blurt things out without considering the appropriateness of what they are saying. Does an expectant mother really want to hear about 36 hours of grueling labor and all the things that the delivery doctor should or should not have done.
Now step into the metaphorical maternity shoes of a buyer going through the growing pains of looking for the right home, making an offer, being in escrow, having inspections, wrangling with the lender – “ the full catastrophe” as Zorba the Greek might have put it .
See if you recognize a variation on a theme. Announce to the world that you are buying a house and suddenly friends, relatives, cube-mates, acquaintances and a boatload of imperfect strangers pop up everywhere. Coming out of the woodwork. Insisting on offering their own unsolicited Jeckyll and Hyde stories ad infinitum ad nauseum.
They view themselves as kindred spirits. They are well-meaning people, who feel a deep, misguided sense of shared experience that gives them unspoken permission to recite chapter and verse and tell you all about it. Dig in Buyers. There’s going to be a deluge of unsought opinion, un-sage advice, out of context comment and rampant recommendations coming your way. It’s going to make your head spin until you think you are on the verge of doing a Linda Blair.
If you let them. What’s the best advice for buyers trying to birth a new home? Don’t tattoo it on your forehead. If it gets out, turn down the sound. Tune out the armchair quarterbacks. Just say no to all those that want to relive their buy-gone, home-buying days through you. In the end, if you really want to own your own home you have to start by owning your own process. After all, it’s going to be your baby.